MRTA urged to invest in 3 projects

MRTA urged to invest in 3 projects

BMA wants to spend money elsewhere

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will urge the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) to take full responsibility for investing in three new monorail and light rail transit projects worth more than 150 billion baht in total, Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt said yesterday.

He added that BMA wanted to spend the budget on other urgent projects, such as improving people's quality of life and education.

Moreover, the BMA believed the government had set aside some of its fiscal budget for railway projects in the capital, as the government had prioritised such investments recently.

"There are many things that [the BMA] needs to do. With that said, transferring those projects to the MRTA is a better choice," said Mr Chadchart.

Mr Chadchart had high hopes for seamless railway development by the MRTA as it could be beneficial for commuters. Many railway lines that are under the care of the BMA had an interchange with those under the MRTA, including the operational Yellow and Orange lines as well as the recently premiered Pink Line.

With that said, the BMA planned to transfer three future projects -- the Grey monorail line connecting Watcharapol to Thong Lor, the Silver Line, which is a light rail transit system linking Bang Na to Suvarnabhumi airport, and the BTS Green Line extensions from Bang Wa to Taling Chan -- to the MRTA.

The BMA had finished the research and development phase on the Grey and Silver lines. All of those planned to use the public-private partnership (PPP) investment method with 30-year concession contracts and are expected to seek approval by this year.

The Green Line extensions, in the meantime, are now undergoing their research and development phase after the study on investment value was done earlier, said Mr Chadchart.

However, the BMA will pass the proposal to the Commission for the Management of Road Traffic, chaired by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, as this required a policy-level discussion between the Interior Ministry and Transport Ministry. The MRTA will have full responsibility for investment plans and contract management after the commission approves the proposal, said Mr Chadchart.

Meanwhile, Atiphu Jittanukrao, deputy director-general of the Department of Rail Transport, said that the department is planning to propose a zone fare for electric train services in Bangkok.

According to Mr Atiphu, the rate will start at 20 baht in the primary zone, namely the Blue Line before rising by five baht in other zones.

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